When Madeline Maupin Hicks first entered UofL’s Faculty of Dentistry in 1971, she did greater than open the door to a constructing — she opened the door to a profession in dentistry for a lot of who adopted.
Hicks was the varsity’s second African American scholar (Harold Howard had graduated the 12 months prior), and the primary African American feminine. After main a profitable dental apply, Hicks returned to UofL, the place she serves as a job mannequin and mentor. She shares insights about her life experiences by this Q&A.
Please describe your expertise as a scholar on the UofL Faculty of Dentistry.
The primary day of college, I used to be not conscious that I might be the one African American scholar. I had graduated from Indiana College at Bloomington the place there was a great combine of scholars. It had not occurred to me that I might really feel the isolation that I felt these first few weeks in dental faculty. I consider the expertise at Fisk College, an traditionally Black college, the place a powerful sense of the power and the skills of Black folks, along with my success at IU ready me to thrive at ULSD in these particular circumstances.
I used to be the primary African American particular person with whom lots of my classmates ever had a one-on-one dialog. It took two years earlier than a few of my classmates realized that I used to be a extremely good scholar. On the similar time, I additionally had the respect and friendship of lots of my classmates early on. We’ll rejoice our 45th reunion this 12 months. This could have occurred in 2020, so it’s now 46 years that we now have been dentists!
What’s most memorable about your time as a scholar on the Faculty of Dentistry?
Probably the most memorable time whereas in class was when my husband and I welcomed our son into the world, throughout my junior 12 months. I feel I used to be the primary feminine scholar to have a baby whereas in class.
The second most memorable occasion was the day I discovered I had the best rating on our ultimate examination in endodontics. It was a tricky examination. My classmates have been upset that I set the curve so excessive. I used to be surprised. Dr. Mendel, our course director, needed to know if I needed him to assist me get right into a graduate program. I declined. I loved all of dentistry and didn’t wish to specialize. At the moment, I additionally thought it will have been troublesome for an African American endodontist to get sufficient referrals from the dental neighborhood to maintain a apply.
Do you contemplate your self a trailblazer?
I consider my success in class could have made it just a little simpler for individuals who adopted me. Some instructors initially had some reservations about how properly I might do. We tried to assist underclassmen who adopted with ideas to assist them succeed with lab work, together with discussions about life. After I graduated, a number of college students shadowed me or accomplished their Space Well being Schooling Facilities expertise in my workplace.
What challenges did you face and overcome as a dentist?
The most important problem after I began my apply was to coach my sufferers on the advantages of prevention and retention of tooth with periodontal and endodontic care. Most African American sufferers have been accustomed to coming to the dentist after they had a tooth ache. By then, they anticipated, and lots of occasions wanted an extraction. We used numerous aids, movies, and many others., to vary this mindset.
Inform us about your profession in non-public apply.
I arrange my apply within the Physician’s Workplace Constructing at 250 East Liberty. It was one of many nicest medical skilled buildings within the metropolis on the time. I needed to set a special degree of expectation for my sufferers. Most workplaces had been above drug shops or different smaller areas. I stayed there for 11 years.
In these early days, generally sufferers would query if I had sufficient power to ‘pull’ a tooth. We additionally confronted some racial prejudice from each white and Black sufferers who didn’t know that I used to be African American earlier than arriving to their appointment. I additionally discovered that I used to be seeing as many sufferers for comparable procedures as white practitioners, however made much less cash. Nearly all of our sufferers had insurance policy that compensated lower than ‘price for service’ that many white dentists have been in a position to require.
In 1986, I bought an workplace constructing on East Broadway. The apply had an built-in workplace employees and affected person pool. My sufferers have been like household. One factor about common apply that’s totally different from a specialty apply is that you just see your sufferers, their youngsters and their grandchildren through the years. I miss these relationships as we speak.
In 2004, you stepped again by the doorways of the dental faculty to change into a part-time college member. What impressed you to return to the varsity?
I’ve at all times needed to show the subsequent era of dentists. I come from a household of educators. Our dinner conversations typically concerned discussions about methods to assist youngsters study. My dad and mom have been dedicated to creating a distinction of their scholar’s lives. I needed to do the identical.
Discuss your position as a mentor for college students of coloration. How do you admonish and encourage their success?
I like to encourage and help all college students, however I’ve walked alongside many African American college students through the years. Typically, we now have helped them clear up family-related points, comparable to a have to discover a babysitter. Different occasions, I’ve helped with dental initiatives in dental anatomy, restorative work, and many others.
I’ve been a mentor and encourager. I would like college students to know that dental faculty is difficult, however they’ll meet the objectives. What appears arduous as we speak, will likely be gone tomorrow. School are right here to assist them succeed. Ask for assist while you want it. When issues are scary, really feel the worry and do it anyway, you can be on the opposite facet of the trial quickly sufficient.
What common recommendation do you’ve gotten for as we speak’s dental college students?
Be taught from every teacher. We could use a special method or instrument to unravel the identical downside. Know that when your instructors problem you to consider methods to clear up an issue, we’re serving to you to be impartial, considerate clinicians. We problem you right here in order that this course of will likely be computerized when you find yourself all by yourself – assume critically!
What do you hope will likely be your lasting legacy?
I hope historical past will see me as an individual of coloration who helped to degree the sphere in dental schooling. I hope I’m an instance to different African American college students, exhibiting them that they, too, can face troublesome conditions and succeed. I hope I’ve helped sufferers with glorious dental schooling and care. We’ve got not gained everybody over, however many apprehensive sufferers have change into excited or at the very least know what to anticipate after they as soon as have been apprehensive.
I hope I’ve influenced college students to assist to the subsequent era, to offer by service by neighborhood and worldwide missions, to know that we should always proceed to study and develop for a lifetime. Have a well-rounded life, with pursuits exterior of dentistry.
The rest you’d prefer to share?
I’ve a priority for the diploma of despair, anxiousness and worry of the ‘subsequent step,’ that many younger persons are experiencing as we speak. In case you are in a darkish place that you just don’t appear to have the ability to rise above, search medical recommendation. However many occasions, there may be an perspective, a mind-set about your self in relation to a troublesome downside that may change. Plainly typically college students assume the answer is all completely on their shoulders, and don’t see a manner out of the issue.
When I’ve confronted troublesome occasions, I by no means felt like I used to be on their own. I’ve trusted that God will likely be with me, guiding me, strolling with me by the storm. The scenario will cross. The issue is probably not solved the best way that I initially thought, however we are going to press on and succeed.